Answered By: Wendy Hardenberg
Last Updated: Jan 19, 2017     Views: 35

Figuring out which sources are valid and appropriate to cite is a long learning process that involves gradually becoming familiar with what's out there and what it means. However, even if you're still at the beginning of that process, there are some things you can do.

1) Really use the following evaluation questions:

Who created it? Do they know what they’re talking about?

What does the author’s point of view or bias seem to be?

Who published it? Might they have a bias?

When was it published? How important is currency in your research?

Does the author provide references or a bibliography so you can check on their sources?

What do you know about this source? What can you figure out? If someone else backed up their argument with this source, would you accept what they said or scoff?

2) Ask someone who knows more than you! At a university, there are tons of people who have been evaluating sources for years and years. They've gotten quite good at it. If you've found a source you'd like to use for a paper, but you're not sure about it, ask your instructor or a librarian—we're all happy to help!